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21/12/2018 9:15am

A year on from the storm event that hit the Kaiaua Coast, including Pukorokoro/Miranda, Hauraki District Council has taken a major step forward in finding a long term strategy to managing coastal hazard risks, including sea level rise, in the area.

The storm caused widespread flooding to around 240 homes and surrounding farmland when a king tide, combined with a low pressure system, swept through the area on 5 January 2018.

Experts and communities to work jointly

Funding has recently been approved for the appointment of environmental management experts Mitchell Daysh to work alongside the relevant councils and with the affected communities, iwi and other stakeholders. This work will result in a jointly developed and community-led strategy that will describe how we will respond to coastal hazard risks in the future, recognising that what we know about these risks may change 10, 20 and 100 years down the track.

Similar project leads the way

Hauraki District Deputy Mayor Toby Adams says the company has just completed a similar project in Hawke’s Bay with extremely positive results.

“Coastal communities in the Hastings/Napier area are facing similar issues to those in the Kaiaua Coast, Pukorokoro/Miranda area and the process they’ve just been through with the Hawke’s Bay councils, supported by Mitchell Daysh, is quite ground-breaking. The community there has produced the first plan of its kind in the country,” he said.

“Climate change and coastal hazards are complex subject areas, and the way we respond now will have far reaching consequences, so it’s important we take the time to plan this work collaboratively and carefully.”

The project, which will kick off early next year, will involve Hauraki District, Waikato Regional and Waikato District councils working alongside iwi, technical experts and the affected communities. A visit to Hawke’s Bay for some first-hand insight and learnings from the councils and communities involved in the process is also planned for next year.

Stormwater improvements also soon to begin

In the meantime, work to improve storm water infrastructure in the Kaiaua Coast area will soon be underway. While this work will help manage the effects of storm water, it won’t address coastal hazards.

Kaiaua Sunset KarangahakePhotograph by Jason Mills